Texas Reads>> archiveGlenn Dromgoole
Student’s ride home
becomes quite an ordeal
Two novels from Texas writers mix aspects of faith and suspense and keep the action moving.
A Ride Home is San Antonio author Pamela Howell’s debut novel (Westbow Press, $11.95 paperback).
It seemed like a pretty straightforward deal to Kayla, a college student needing a ride home from San Angelo to Arizona for Thanksgiving. At the college’s ride board, she finds another student going her way. Against her roommate’s serious objections, she takes up the offer with this stranger, Mark, who turns out to be quite handsome and engaging. But soon Kayla and Mark are fighting for their lives, out in the middle of nowhere.
On her website, pamelarobertshowell.com, Howell says this about the story: “A Ride Home has a mix of adventure, danger and romance which will appeal to readers of all ages who crave a novel with all these elements minus the gratuitous profanity and sex so prevalent in this genre and in today’s culture. I wanted to write a book that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have my mother, or my teen-aged daughter, read and discuss.
“A story doesn’t have to use profanity and sex as crutches,” she adds. “A good story stands on its own.”
Hunter: Caught in the Crosshairs (CreateSpace, $16.95 paperback) is the second novel by Abilene author Stephen M. Holt Sr.
Jayson Hunter is a hard-nosed investigative reporter who makes his living ferreting out charlatans and corrupt public officials. On a flight to Denver to expose a doctor suspected of fraud, Hunter literally bumps into Diane Carter, and they have a very friendly chat on the plane. He is smitten, but it turns out she is quite religious — and Hunter has little to do with religion these days.
Diane invites him to come to Cedar Spring, Texas (a city much like Abilene) and check out the “faith community” that she belongs to. Hunter is skeptical, but Diane’s beauty is quite persuasive.
Meanwhile, two of Hunter’s friends are killed back home in Memphis, and the fraudulent doctor is suspected to be behind the murders. Hunter realizes that he is now being hunted. As he draws closer to Diane, Hunter begins to re-examine his own faith and values and what he wants out of life.
This is Holt’s second novel, both of which advocate communities of faith outside the traditional church. Read more at stephenholtsr.com.
New York: Other Press
Trade paperback, 978-1-59051-711-6 (also available in e-book and audio)
Whisper Hollow is IPPY award winner Chris Cander’s second novel, a multifaceted story of family, religion, superstition, redemption, and (mostly) good people pushed to desperate means who prove, again, that Faulkner was right – “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
Divided into two parts, beginning in 1916 and 1964, respectively, this novel spans most of the twentieth century in Verra, a coal-mining town tucked into the hills and hollows of West Virginia, populated by hard-working immigrants building better lives for their families in a new country. Sadly, not much changed in Verra in all those years. The aspirations of the second generation are just what their parents hoped for, but the attempted fulfillment of those dreams causes conflict and dredges up pervasive European class issues that have stowed away in their steamer trunks. >> read more
Portland, OR: Tin House
Paperback, 978-1935639831 (also available as e-book and audiobook)
The Other Side is the National Book Critics Circle Award– and Edgar Award–nominated memoir from Lacy M. Johnson, who was kidnapped, imprisoned, and raped by a former boyfriend in 2000. This is her story of the before, during, and after. Johnson also tackles universal issues women live with: the illusion of power as puberty works its alchemy and men begin to pay attention to girls who are still children, regardless of the new swell of breast and curve of hip; the sense of always being on stage, under constant evaluation; the popularity of Dead Girls in our culture.>> read more
Lone Star Book Reviews >> moreMichelle Newby, NBCC,
New Fiction Confab set for April 25 at Faulk Central Library, Austin; Ward, Specht to speak
New Fiction Confab, an annual event featuring a emerging and mid-career fiction writers, will be held Sat., April 25, sponsored by the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation.
Visiting authors Rebecca Makkai, Viet Than Nguyen, Asali Solomon, and Akhil Sharma will lead writing workshops in Austin Public Library branches from 10:30 am to noon. From 2 to 5 pm, visiting authors will join local writers Amanda Eyre Ward (The Same Sky) and Mary Helen Specht (Migratory Animals) for readings and conversations at the Faulk Central Library, 800 Guadalupe Street. All events are free and open to the public.
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